Finalmente! Yes, finally, the 2001 Brunelli are arriving. This much-ballyhooed vintage is here for you to taste. We are doing in-store tastings on Saturday, August 12 for any wishing to sample! Tiny Poggiarellino was last year’s introductory success. Its forward drinkability and price had everyone jumping out of their shoes. The 2001 Poggiarellino Brunello di Montalcino ($29.99) shows that last year was no fluke, In fact, this wine has gone from fun to important. The 2001 lays a powerful, focused center right down the middle of your palate and is rich, fleshy with a chocolaty, ripe-cherry-flavor-filled body. The wine has considerable depth and a texture that makes me think of a Bistecca Fiorentina. This vintage shows far more complexity, layers of spice, distinct mineral components and a truly dramatic and long-lasting finish where the spice and minerals go on forever. Capable of aging 15-20 years easily yet balanced and rich enough to excite anyone today! 2,700 bottles made! The quality evolution at Pian dell’Orino has been dramatic. Mike P. and I tasted everything from their cellar through 2005, and we are supremely impressed by the quality of fruit character, the real terroir and subtle winemaking. The 2001 Pian dell’Orino Brunello di Montalcino ($39.99) is dense, muscular and dark like an Olympic swimmer returning from a month at the beach. Those muscles are long and sinewy, graceful, full of power yet the wine strides with an elegant balance, oozing confidence still with a reserve reminiscent of nobility. There is a chocolaty, cassis, plum-like flavor that fills the mid palate coiled around a powerful interior structure that gives the wine great length and allows these flavors to linger in the finish. Mixed in with the warm fruit-filled ripeness are hints of animal, fresh glove leather, stones and wild herbs that are subtly present yet add to the complex background and are more present in the finish. Long, powerful and decidedly delicious, this is a wine that will age 10-15 years easily although so well balanced you could drink it now. The 2001 Pian dell’Orino “Piandorino” ($17.99) a truly wonderful blend of 75% sangiovese, 15% merlot and 10% cabernet sauvignon aged half in barrique and half in large oak, is REALLY good! The 2004 Pian dell’Orino Rosso di Montalcino ($19.99) is some truly serious sangiovese. This is a vintage to be reckoned with; in a few years the 2004 vintage will be the thing! Some other fantastic wines just arriving are the 2001 Piancornello Brunello di Montalcino ($39.99), with its luscious ripe fruit and easy drinkability, as well as its neighbor the 2001 Lisini Brunello di Montalcino ($39.99), which is really good in this vintage and seriously focused. Another unheard of wine is the 2001 La Mannella Brunello di Montalcino “I Poggiarelli” ($44.95). Three Stars! Marco Cortonesi produces honest, elegant and deliciously drinking wines. His “I Poggiarelli” vineyard release has layers of complex dark wild cherry flavors that jump out of the wine. It highlights a real sauvage character: spice, saddle leather, earth all balanced in a supple, graceful wine. No blockbuster alcoholic monster, just a really complex, fun wine with elegance and charm, like Audrey Hepburn but with a tan, on the beach, and after a few cocktails. Only 291 cases produced. —Greg St. Clair
Well, folks, it is the dog days of August, and we here at K&L have been looking for some of the best that Burgundy has to offer for your summer parties. Let’s start with a real steal-deal that many of you have enjoyed before. The Plaisir des Princes ($6.99) is a wonderful 2005 Macon Chardonnay that has been declassified to simply Vin de Table. They cannot legally tell you the vintage or the grape on the label. But we know, and will tell you: This is crisp Macon with nice fruit and good length, and it sells for a song. What’s not to like? We have also found a talented young vigneron in Macon. Lionel Rhedon-Marin sells all his younger fruit and lesser vineyards to the negociants, but keeps his best, old-vine fruit to make his 2005 Macon Villages, Domaine des Nialles ($11.99), with lovely apple notes, richness and a crisp finish. In St. Bris-le-Vineux, a tiny town in the Cote d’Auxerre, near Chablis in the north of Burgundy, we work with a small domaine run by a husband and wife. Anne and Arnaud Goisot are dedicated wine growers, making honest, affordable wines with a clear sense of place. The 2004 Goisot St. Bris ($10.99) shows crisp varietal sauvignon blanc character, gooseberries on the nose and a wonderful flinty finish, thanks to the chalky soils. The 2004 Goisot Bourgogne Aligoté ($10.99) is regularly an award winner. Once again they were chosen for the coveted tastevinage label, awarded after a large blind tasting. The wine shows the characteristic spice on the finish but is also very open and generous. Try it as an aperitif, with cassis for a kir, or any old time. Finally, the 2005 Goisot Bourgogne Cotes d’Auxerre Rosé, ($10.99) is made of 100% pinot noir. With a beautiful eye of the swan color and a strawberry nose, this is profound and complex, yet refreshing and charming. Á Santé. —Keith Wollenberg
All Saturday tastings are from noon to 3 p.m. in San Francisco and 1 to 4 p.m. in Redwood City. Look for dinners and other events listed in the “local events” section of our website, www.klwines.com. Please note our new format beginning this month. In order to bring you a wider array of choices, the San Francisco and Redwood City stores will have their own unique tastings. Tasting prices TBA. August 5: California Chardonnay in RWC. Martin will pour wines from top producers in Napa and Sonoma. A rare opportunity to sample some of California’s finest Chardonnays. International Pinot Noir in SF. The staff will pick their favorite Pinot Noir from the U.S., France, New Zealand and other countries. August 12: 2001 Brunello di Montalcino in RWC. Greg will be pouring a selection of Brunellos from the spectacular 2001 vintage. Salute to Women Winemakers in SF. A tasting from top women winemaker’s such as Cathy Corison, Kristin Belair, Susana Balbao and others. August 19: 2003 Bordeaux in RWC & SF. Clyde, Steve and Ralph pick one white, eight reds and one Sauternes for our monthly Bordeaux tasting highlighting the 2003 vintage. August 26: Australia Shiraz in RWC. Jim will focus on the great red wines of Australia. Please join us for this first-class sojourn down under. Sparkling Wine in SF. Sparkling wines from around the world including Champagnes, Cava, domestic bubblies and tasty treats from Alsace, Loire and Burgundy.
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